Canada is just one win away from qualifying for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016 with their first chance this Friday 11 March at the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Under-17 Championship. Canada finished second in Group A with two wins and one loss, falling 1:2 to Haiti on the final day of the three-match group series in St. George’s, Grenada.
Canada will face the winner of Group B in the CONCACAF semi-finals this Friday, with that opponent to be known on Tuesday 8 March after Group B concludes their three-match series. The group winner will be either USA (six points after two matches and +8 goal difference), Mexico (3 points and +1), or Costa Rica (3 points and -1).
“We are in the semi-final and that will be a great experience,” said Bev Priestman, Canada Soccer’s Women’s National U-17 Coach. “I think the next game will be a great game. Those games are really key in the development phase for the future of the Women’s National Team.”
The Friday 11 March CONCACAF semi finals will qualify two nations to the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016. A third nation will qualify two days later in the match for thiIn the Canada-Haiti match, Sarah Stratigakis scored the game’s first goal in the 77th minute, but Haiti then equalised four minutes later on a goal by Mikerline Saint-Felix. Three minutes thereafter, Melissa Dacius scored the game winner on a penalty.
From three group mathches, Canada scored 11 goals and conceded just two. Jayde Riviere, Sarah Stratigakis, and Vital Kats were the goal scorers against Guatemala; Nahida Baalbaki, Akindoju (three), Jordyn Huitema (two), and Kennedy Faulknor were the goal scorers against Grenada.
Canada are four-time CONCACAF women’s youth champions, twice at the U-20 level and once each at the U-17 and U-15 levels. CaCanada fell to an in-form Haiti after a 1:2 loss on Monday evening. A goal from Sarah Stratigakis was cancelled out by a scrambled rebound put home by Mikerline Saint Felix in the 81st, then a penalty put away by Melissa Dacius in the 84th.
The game was a re-match of the 2014 CONCACAF Girls’ U15 Championship final and Haiti came into it having scored 16 goals over their last two games. Canada were largely able to keep star player Nerilia Mondesir quiet in the March 7 contest at Grenada Athletic Stadium, Grenada, but she won the penalty that put Haiti top of Group A. Canada’s second place finish gives them a semi-final against USA, Mexico, or Costa Rica on March 11.
After a scoreless first half, Canada came out strong for the second half. Stratigakis taking a shot from left midfield almost straight from kick off, but seeing it sail wide of the left post. Her next effort in the 51st minute was a better one, testing Kerly Theus in the Haitian goal after she let off a long range effort from the top left of the penalty box.
Emma Regan and Nerilia Mondesir traded off-target attempts in the 56th and 57th minutes, and Canada kept up the pressure on the Haitian goal, Anyssa Ibrahim and Jayde Riviere both having chances but failing to cause any trouble for Theus.
Canada’s breakthrough came in the 77th minute. A long ball was sent forward by Faulknor and initially cut out by Saraphina Joseph. Shana Flynn was on the spot to put the second effort in and win the rebound. Flynn was able to release substitute Jordyn Huitema down the right side of the penalty area who put in a low cross through the six yard box. The previously resolute Theus missed the ball, diving over it and leaving both Sarah Stratigakis and Anyssa Ibrahim all alone on the back post, with Stratigakis being the one to convert from three yards out.
Haiti pulled level just four minutes later, after Anyssa Ibrahim had given up a free kick down on the touchline just outside the right edge of the 18 yard box. The ball was floated in and Mondesir was first to it, forcing it goalwards with an awkward, bouncing strike. Lysianne Proulx could only parry it out to the edge of the six yard box and Mikerline Saint Felix was the first to react, slamming home the rebound.
Canadian heartbreak was compounded in the 84th minute after Kennedy Faulknor was adjudged to have fouled Mondesir in the penalty box. The resulting kick from the penalty mark was dispatched by Shelsie Dacius into the bottom right just beyond the grasp of Proulx who had guessed the direction correctly.
Haiti had a lead they wouldn’t give up easily, but Canada were still in the game. Two late attempts by Shana Flynn tested Theus, but she proved to be back to her reliable best, keeping the shots out and helping Haiti to a 2:1 win.
nada have participated in all four FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cups since the biennial tournament was initiated in 2008, including three trips to the quarter-final phase.
Between 2014 and 2015, Canada were the only nation in the world to finish top-8 in three FIFA women’s competitions (sixth place at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015, sixth place at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014, and eighth place at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Costa Rica 2014).
The kick off time for Canada’s 11 March semi finals match will be confirmed after Group B concludes their series on 8 March.